Thursday, June 11, 2009

WA Frost: Local Ingredients, Repurposed Decor

As someone who's interested in sustainable agriculture, I'm always on the lookout for restaurants that serve sustainably raised food.

My never-ending search led us to WA Frost last weekend, where we received 1000 Open Table points for making a reservation after 9pm on a Friday. Bonus!

Here's a bit about the food philosophy at WA Frost, which I lifted from their website:
The cuisine at W.A. Frost & Company is derived from an eclectic mix of ingredients meticulously sourced the world over through small farmers and growers, artisanal cheese and sausage makers and culinary crafts persons. In fact, approximately 70% of all of our ingredients are organically grown or naturally raised, and many of these are locally produced within a short distance of our restaurant. This commitment to family farmers and quality-oriented producers not only ensures a high standard for our food, but also is beneficial to the environment, public health and the local economy.

The menus at W.A. Frost change seasonally in order to maintain the freshest available product. Inspiration for the recipes is derived primarily from the Mediterranean country cuisines of Italy, France, Spain, and from as far away as Asia and the Middle East. These influences are then combined with the local flavors of the Upper Midwest to create a truly unique dining experience offering everything from meat, poultry, fish, and vegetarian items for the lover of haute cuisine to creative sandwiches and salads for the more casual diner.
WA Frost has won countless awards, and has received an abundance of reviews since 1975. 34 years later at 9:30pm on a Friday, the dining room was about 1/4 full and the patio almost full.

The building, in the Richardson Romanesque style, has arched doorways and windows. The tin ceilings are original. The back bar was rescued from a burned-out building in Superior, WI. The marble tables are the walls from old Northwestern National Bank building - also in Superior, WI. If Romanesque architecture, candlelight, draperies, and giant oil paintings are your scene, this is the spot. We were seated at a corner table next to a defunct fireplace that was lit up with candles.

I ordered a glass of Bisol Jeio “Prosecco Brut” before our meal.
We selected two entrees to share with one another.

I love English peas. For dinner, I couldn't resist the Sweet English Pea Risotto served with macadamia nut-yogurt froth, pea tendrils, and black olive oil. The risotto was both rich and creamy but still al dente. The sweet peas were sweet in flavor, and cooked until slightly tender, but not overcooked. The salty black olive oil enhanced the sweetness of the peas, bringing about a well-balanced dish. FYI, did you know that Thomas Jefferson grew more than 30 cultivars of peas on his estate?

Gerg ordered the Pan Roasted New York Steak over a blackberry and bacon reduction served with sautéed spinach, fingerling potato confit, cauliflower puree, and a small herb salad. The steak was prepared medium rare, and paired well with the bacony reduction, which didn't overwhelm the steak. The fingerling potato confit was a simple presentation that allowed the potatoes to speak for themselves.

I left my sunglasses on the table. On my way home, I received a call on my cell phone from the maître d', letting me know that I had left them behind (yet another reason I'm glad I booked a reservation with Open Table).

W.A. Frost & Company
Historic Cathedral Hill - Dacotah Building
374 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102
tel: 651-224-5715

[where: Sustainable Food, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55406 Minnesota]

1 comment:

nc said...

Sounds great! Will have to try them out some time. ;)